Russia, Azerbaijan and Japan present World Expo 2025 projects

Russia (Ekaterinburg), Azerbaijan (Baku) and Japan (Osaka) each presented their World Expo 2025 projects to the 163rd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) on 13 June.

The presentations came the day after the General Assembly approved the viability of all three Expo candidature projects, thus confirming their place in the election of the host country, which will take place at the 164th General Assembly on 23 November 2018.

Ekaterinburg, Russia

Russia was first to take the podium to present its bid for Expo 2025 in Ekaterinburg. Five speakers appealed to Member States to call on their support: Anton Siluanov, the first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation, Evgeny Kuyvashev, Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region, Svetlana Sagaydak, Director-General of the Ekaterinburg World Expo 2025 Bid Committee, Olympic athlete Angelika Timanina, and the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Sergeev.

The delegation emphasised support for the Expo project, with the first Deputy Prime Minister stating: “for Russia, Expo 2025 is a project of primary importance…it found a response in the hearts of Russian people, it became a goal uniting our people.” A video message from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reaffirmed this support, expressing confidence that “Expo 2025 Ekaterinburg will be one of the most outstanding World Expos.” Backing for the project also came from the International Space Station, with another video message addressed to the General Assembly from cosmonauts Sergei Prokopyev and Oleg Artemyev.

Mr. Kuyvashev outlined Ekaterinburg’s capacities to host the event, which would take place on a 555 ha site on the bank of the Verkh-Isetsky pond, and which would be transformed into a Smart City after the Expo. This Smart City, in line with the proposed theme “Changing the World: Innovations and Better Life for Future Generations”, would be “a place where existing and perspective innovative developments will be tested and implemented.”

Baku, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan’s delegation was led by Novruz Mammadov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Prime Minister was followed by the Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov, and then by Maryam Gafar-zada, responsible for the Expo bid’s “Vitality” subtheme, and Elchin Amirbayov, Assistant to the First Vice President of Azerbaijan and head of the country’s delegation to the BIE.

The Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the Expo project for Azerbaijan, telling the General Assembly that the Expo bid is a national priority and that organising it “will be the realisation of our potential.” This was supported by Mr. Sharifov, who added that “every aspect of our vision and planning starts and ends with human capital”, highlighting the importance of the proposed theme: “Developing human capital, building a better future.” Dr. Gafar-zada developed on this theme, noting that the three subthemes – Talent, Vitality and Achievement – have been formulated to match six of the UN’s Sustainable Development goals.

A flyover of the proposed site for Expo 2025 Baku was also presented to the General Assembly. The eight-pointed star shaped site would cover 295 ha and would feature square plots to create “small communities of different nations, to encourage interaction and collaboration.” Mr. Amirbayov explained that after the Expo, the site would be transformed into “a major new urban park to rival the great Expos of the past.”

Osaka, Japan

Japan’s Expo 2025 bid was presented to the General Assembly by five speakers, starting with medical student and ‘inochi Gakusei’ Project co-founder Ayako Kawatake, and followed by researcher and Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Hiroshige Seko, the Chairman of the 2025 Japan World Expo Committee, Sadayuki Sakakibara, and Executive Officer at Suntory Holdings, Tomomi Fukumoto.

Both Minister Seko and Mr. Yamanaka highlighted their own experiences as children visiting Expo 1970 Osaka, with the Minister telling Member States of the “shared dream… of hosting the life-changing Expo once again in our hometown.” With the proposed theme of “Designing Future Society for Our Lives”, Expo 2025 Osaka would aim to bring new ideas together from across the world and be “a great laboratory […] highlighting the beauty of i-no-chi (life)”, indicated Mr. Yamanaka.

This project would be realised with business engagement, Mr. Sakakibara told delegates, as “the private sector should play an active role in addressing global solutions.” These solutions would be presented on the proposed Yumeshima Island Expo site, which was presented in a video featuring Pokemon characters vising the site, as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who underlined national and local support for the project. Mr. Abe concluded by declaring that the Expo would not just be for Japan, but would “inspire and inspirit children from all corners of the world.”